“Today I choose life. Every morning when I wake up I can choose joy, happiness, negativity, pain… To feel the freedom that comes from being able to continue to make mistakes and choices – today I choose to feel life, not to deny my humanity but embrace it.” ~ Kevyn Aucoin
What do you do when the women’s FIFA World Cup is on and the U.S. is poised to advance to the semi-finals? You hold a meeting. If there happens to be a TV in the room, so be it….and ice cream and home made peach cobbler and chips and salsa and peanut mix….if they just happen to be in the room during said meeting, well, one can’t let them go to waste. Final game is this Sunday: USA v. Netherlands.
“Make a decision to talk about why you’re blessed, not stressed. You give life to what you focus on.” ~ Kristen Butler
Ah, another great day in the office. The fabulous Ron Eller was the inaugural interviewee for the new UK Appalachian Center Oral History Project. If you’re unfamiliar with Dr. Eller, I’ll catch you up. He was Director of the UK Appalachian Center for 15 years, distinguished professor of History at UK and known “as a scholar of Appalachian history and the study of rural economic development and social change.” He has written dozens of articles, and his book “Miners, Millhands and Mountaineers: The Industrialization of the Appalachian South,” was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 1983. His latest book Uneven Ground: Appalachia Since 1945 has become a seminal tome for Appalachian Study, history, and social scholars.
When I meet people who have excelled in their profession, as Dr. Eller has, I will sometimes be super jovial in our meeting. (Hint: I’m not ordinarily super jovial) It’s very interesting to watch how people react -and respond- to someone who treats them as if they’re an old friend. They either get that deer in the headlight look and don’t say much, or they get it right away and I can feel the apprehension melt away. I was quite pleased to find Dr. Eller in the latter category. He’s a serious scholar whose work has inspired generations of other scholars, and he was a good steward of the Appalachian Center. His personality reflects his good works. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how proud I was of Kathryn Engle and Emma Kiser for their interview with Eller. It was an excellent interview and a superb launch to a project about one of the most important center’s to grace UK’s campus. Knowing so many of the former directors, and being Appalachian myself, I might be biased in my admiration of the Appalachian Center. I’m also right.
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things.” ~ Paul, Philippians 4:8
Today, I got to do something cool that I rarely get to do. I attended a community workshop for a new oral history project in London, Kentucky. The project is being spearheaded by Appalachian Center Associate Director Kathryn Engle (above) and director of the Laurel County African American Heritage Center, Wayne Riley (not pictured). The first phase of the project looks at the African American community in the tri-county area around London as part of a larger project focusing on the race riots of the 1910’s in Corbin, Kentucky. Kathryn and I have been working with an intern from Berea College on the project who’s splitting time between our two departments. We also share the talents of PhD student Emma Kiser (below). During the last few months I’ve gotten to know both ladies much better. Not only was today’s event an important first step for the project, but we three shared a few laughs along the way, which is always a plus in my world. It was a truly excellent day, start to finish. I’m excited about the project and the lives that can be touched by the group’s good work, and I’m especially grateful for the meaningful, honest conversations that we shared with a community of volunteers. I look forward to a lot more laughs with these two.